One of the coolest parts of being a geek parent is seeing your kids connect with some of the same material you enjoyed at their age. Although I’m not sure how old I was when I first saw the 1971 film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, almost any child of the 70s or 80s can remember singing along with the Oompa Loompas or dreaming of chocolate rivers. Now that both of my boys (aged five and nine) watch the movie as well, it’s fun to revisit one of the classics that still, I think, holds up.
In rewatching the film (and, because of the five year old, rewatching and rewatching and rewatching), something struck me: Slugworth. He’s the bad guy that was actually a test, instantly creepy, the devil’s temptation, and yet at the end he was just another obstacle for our favorite chocolate maker to put in the children’s path to identify his successor. Slugworth offers Charlie all the money Charlie needs to provide for his family, something that desperately matters to a household where four grandparents shared a single bed (and yet they still had a television capable of receiving reports of found golden tickets). We all know this as the final test and we’ve been conditioned to see just how difficult it would be for Charlie to turn this down. All this just in exchange for some information, or even a sample, of an Everlasting Gobstopper. It’s a straight forward test for Charlie. But what of the other children?